Music streaming apps today are expanding listeners’ experience more than ever. And Spotify deserves all the praise for single-handedly pioneering the industry. After dominance for over a decade, other music streaming services like Tidal, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and even Apple Play are now giving Spotify a run for its money. What sparks up the Tidal vs. Spotify debate is which platform has the best audio quality.
But before you narrow down the comparison to a single feature, there’s a lot more to these leading music streaming apps that you should know.
From pricing plans to social features, music discovery to artist following, the sound quality and stream support of both services should make up for a deserving comparison. So, let’s let the music do the talking from here on!
Spotify Vs. Tidal: The State of Play
Spotify is arguably the complete music streaming app that stays true to its roots. Its emphasis on variety, personalized playlists, and social sharing platforms remains unparalleled. Whether it is a nostalgic playlist, entertaining podcasts, or news about musical events nearby, Spotify gives you all under one roof.
As we are talking about artists following, Tidal is one to consider, too. Owned by the renowned rapper Jay-Z, it is the first music streaming app owned by artists. And as an artist-owned app, Tidal pays much sweeter incentives to new artists than any other music streaming app.
But promoting emerging artists is only the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with Tidal. Tidal gathers most of its heat from its unique feature of dominant sound quality that matches the old CDs.
Tidal vs Spotify – Pricing and Subscription
We’d like to see how both apps stand toe-to-toe on some key music-streaming features as much as you do. So, let’s get started and find out!
|Spotify Individual||$9.99/month||One Account, Listen to music ad-free|
|Spotify Duo||$12.99/month||2 Premium accounts, Duo Mix: a playlist for two, ad-free music|
|Spotify Family||$15.99/month||6 Premium accounts, Family Mix: a playlist for your family, Spotify Kids: a separate app made just for kids.|
|Spotify Student||$4.99/month||Hulu (ad-supported) plan, SHOWTIME, Listen to music ad-free|
Spotify offers a free plan supported by ads, where you can’t download music for offline listening. Or, skip over six songs on the mobile app in an hour. You can still access Spotify’s ginormous library of 30 million tracks if it doesn’t sound compelling enough. And that’s a lot!
But if you want to amp up your music streaming experience, you can subscribe to Spotify’s premium plan for $9.99. Also, Spotify’s incentive for students brings down that price to $4.99, making it attractive. Spotify’s most expensive subscription plan lands at $15.99 for the family. In a Spotify family subscription, you can link up to 6 different devices to that account and download music for offline streaming.
Suppose your budget is the only factor preventing you from subscribing to a music streaming app. In that case, you’ll have to go with Spotify.
|Tidal Premium||$9.99/month||Standard sound quality (320 Kbps)|
|Tidal HiFi||$19.99/month||Lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps)|
|Tidal Family Premium||$14.99/month||Including up to 5 additional family members totaling 6, Standard sound quality (320 Kbps)|
|Tidal Family HiFi||$29.99/month||Including up to 5 additional family members totaling 6, Master Quality audio (up to 9216 Kbps)|
Tidal does not offer a free streaming plan. And you’ll have to pay for the extra quality. Tidal offers two subscription plans, neither of which are cheap. The modest Tidal subscription plan stands for $9.99 a month. It offers the same music quality at 320 KB/s at similar rates to the Spotify Premium Plan. For a more refined audio experience, Tidal has a HiFi subscription plan. It can be bought for $19.99 monthly, giving you access to lossless CD-quality audio. The sound quality for tracks gets much superior with this subscription plan as you unlock Tidal’s 25,000 Hi-Res soundtracks.
To counter Spotify’s family subscription plans, Tidal offers two options. Tidal Premium Family plan at $14.99 a month. And the Tidal Hifi Family plan is at $29.99 a month. Both subscription plans allow offline downloads and streaming from up to 5 devices.
So, suppose you want more bang for the buck. In that case, Spotify offers more modest subscription plans over Tidal and allows one more device on family plans. But if shedding extra dollars on eargasm doesn’t slow you down, Tidal offers a much higher quality of music.
Tidal vs. Spotify – Sound Quality
If lossless audio tracks do not precisely hit your audiophile ears’ right spots. You may want to stick to Tidal. Being a major marketing factor, Tidal slays all competition regarding music streaming quality. On its HiFi subscription plan, Tidal offers four audio streaming qualities: standard, high, HiFi, and MQA.
The “Normal” stream setting is preferred over cellular data usage as the other options consume too much data. Still, the most common setting is “High” to balance data usage and music streaming quality. The “High” settings on Tidal stream music at 320 KB/s (CD quality) are the same as Spotify’s high-quality option.
However, Tidal does take the lead from here as it offers two superior options to High, HiFi, and MQA. Tidal Hi-Fi offers an exciting rate of 96kHz/24bit for streaming music that enriches the audio quality. Though Spotify recently announced the release of a new streaming quality, “Spotify HiFi,” we still have much time to see it in use.
The MQA or Master Quality Authenticated is a Tidal-only feature. Even though you only have a little over 25,000 tracks, MQA verified. They’re still a lot to make the most of your listening experience. The MQA focuses on recreating the original acoustics heard and experienced by musicians at the studio.
Spotify offers five music streaming qualities on its app: low, medium, high, very high, and automatic. While the “Very High” quality tops at 320 KB/s (CD quality), it is not available on the free subscription plan.
However, having a high-quality headset or music system is the only prerequisite to enjoying Tidal’s superior music streaming quality. Otherwise, you can’t tell much difference between the streaming qualities.
Tidal vs. Spotify – Content Catalogue and Contributions
Tidal and Spotify both boast an overwhelming library of tracks. However, Tidal does take the lead by having over 60 million tracks, which is 10 million more than its competitor. But judging the content and music playlist by the sheer number of tracks is cutting it too short.
Though barely significant, every music streaming platform will have downs and missing tracks from their libraries. But the difference between Spotify and Tidal is how those tracks are curated into playlists and presented to listeners.
One of Spotify’s unique and praised features is the “Discover Weekly” playlist. It is a playlist tailored to your musical preferences and suggests the best songs to match your tastes. You can discover new talents quickly, as Spotify is quite lenient in accepting tracks from contemporary artists. You can submit a track as an artist via a third-party studio or even send your single directly to Spotify.
To counter that, Tidal’s Rising Talent also appreciates new artists. If an artist gathers the proper attention and catches the curator’s eye, he gets offered exclusive free support. Tidal’s free support includes professional photography, the music featured on the front page, and tour support. Moreover, Tidal takes it all a step higher by offering higher royalties to artists.
While both music streaming apps do wonders in suggesting personalized playlists and tracks, Spotify is much more unique and vaster. While Tidal is leaning more towards hip-hop culture and tracks, Spotify’s library is extensively categorized and versatile. You’re likelier to find a low-key indie song suggestion on Spotify than on Tidal.
Coming over to the videos and podcast support, both the apps hold different grounds. Tidal’s exclusive video catalog of music and production videos and a dedicated section give it the go-ahead in aesthetics. But if you’re more of a podcast follower, Spotify can quite easily be an alternative to any podcast app. With unique features like a sleep timer for podcasts and one of the most extensive podcast collections, there is not a single mainstream show you’ll miss out on!
To sum it up, Tidal is arguably more supportive of artists and contributors to the streaming app. But what gives Spotify an upper hand over Tidal is that it is almost entirely listener-centered.
Tidal vs. Spotify – Music Discovery
As much as we like listening to and collecting tracks, we all appreciate a good recommendation. Tidal and Spotify are neck-to-neck regarding song suggestions, with Spotify having a slight edge.
Both music streaming platforms learn about your musical tastes through their algorithms. The apps suggest similar tracks and playlists based on what genres you listen to the most.
Spotify curates 6 “Daily Mix” playlists based on the moods and genres of tracks you listen to. These playlists have your most heard track and similar suggestions. Other than that, Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” remains the most significant difference-maker against Tidal in music discovery. Discover Weekly suggests up to 30 tracks that complement your listening habits and are updated regularly.
On the contrary, Tidal does not have a “Discover Weekly” or a similar feature. But to make up for it, Tidal suggests eight playlists for eight genres you listen to. Please note that you’ll have fewer playlists if you listen to fewer than eight genres.
Spotify also has a “Release Radar” playlist to help you keep up with new releases from your favorite artists. Moreover, you can access six different tabs on Spotify to streamline your music discovery.
- Genres & Mood
- New Releases
Tidal does an excellent job catching up to the music streaming giant through its “Tidal Rising” feature. This helps you discover new releases from artists worldwide. However, it may not be specific to the artists you follow on Spotify.
You can also access Billboard’s top trending hits from Tidal’s “Top” feature. But as that feature is already present and much more sophisticated on Spotify, Spotify drops all pins here again.
Tidal vs. Spotify – Social Features
Social features are essential in proclaiming a better interface between Tidal and Spotify. Spotify has many social features that allow you to share your unique musical tastes with friends and discover new and exciting music.
You can link your account to Facebook and import all contacts with their accounts linked to Spotify. Or, you can add friends on Spotify through their username or distinct profile ID. After which, you can see what your friends are listening to, the artists they are following, and the playlists they are making. You can have a pick at their playlists and expand your discovery charts.
Another exciting social feature that Spotify has is linking your Spotify account across various platforms. You can associate your Spotify account with most social media platforms and tell others what you’re listening to.
But suppose you’re a possessive enthusiast who doesn’t like sharing their playlists with people. In that case, you can always turn the feature off from Spotify settings.
Spotify offers another key social feature by letting you know how many followers an artist, track, or playlist has. You can also see the monthly views for tracks and playlists, making deciding what to put on easier.
On the contrary, Tidal allows you to share tracks on your linked social media accounts. And that’s about it! Looking at the social features, you’ll find that Tidal is much more restricting than Spotify. Though Tidal made considerable leaps in trying to have a piece of Spotify’s pie, it still has a lot more expansion to do in the social aspect.
Tidal vs. Spotify – Other Features
With the significant rocks avalanche settled above, let’s compare the two apps’ misc features.
Spotify has a unique feature called “Spotify Wrapped,” which wraps up your year in musical statistics. You get infographics outlining how much time you spend listening to music, who were your top heard artists, and what geographical area you have been listening to music for the whole year. You can then share these features with your friends and on social media, too!
Tidal, on the other hand, does not have a similar feature.
Another distinguishable and very needed additional feature of Spotify is that it allows you to play MP3 files from your local directory. If you want to rewind the clocks to the old CD collection days and stream the music through the same media player. You can do it only with Spotify.
However, both platforms offer downloading and keeping music for offline streaming. Though Tidal lets you download hi-res audio files, it can take up much more space and data when compared to Spotify.
Listening to music on the go is necessary, but so is paying attention to the road. Again, both the music streaming apps are easily integrated with Apple Car, Android Auto, and Waze. Still, Spotify takes its safety integration further by supporting Google Maps, which Tidal doesn’t. Integration with these driving apps lets you easily control music without leaving the app.
Crossfade and Sleep Timer
Crossfade and sleep timer are insignificant but essential elements that Spotify packs on. With Spotify, you can choose the “Crossfade” feature from settings to eliminate the short pause when tracks change. Instead, you get a smooth transition and a continuous flow of music.
Sleep timer, too, is a useful additional feature for Spotify. You can set your timer preferences when listening to music or podcasts and ensure they won’t run all night. On the other hand, Tidal lacks both of these valuable features.
Spotify also features an easy way to delete the account and import your playlists to a different one, a support feature not so prominent in Tidal.
The Final Verdict
Spotify has the lead if you want a sure-short winner from the Tidal vs. Spotify battle. But that’s not to undermine Tidal’s superior sound quality and artist support programs. While Tidal promotes new and upcoming artists and brings audiophile satisfaction. Spotify focuses more on the listener-artist relationship.
Choosing one of the two depends on what you expect from the app. If you’re specific about music quality or need music-related videos and, at times, exclusive content, nobody does it better than Tidal. But, if music discovery, social sharing, listening on the go, integrating old playlists, and lower budget is what you have in mind, look nowhere else but Spotify!
Feel free to comment if you think we’ve missed something important. Also, let us know your preference for music streaming apps for Tidal vs Spotify.